President Trump says U.S. gained access into China for beef because he asked for it

Opinion

Negotiating trade deals to increase market access is typically not easy. Non-tariff barriers, thickening borders, and increased commerce bureaucracy all make access to global markets and free trade very difficult. But what if market access could be made easier by just asking for it. Why didn’t former Presidents, NCBA and a handful of U.S. Trade Representatives think of that?

According to President Trump, with the magic of one sentence, he requested access for United States beef into China, and the response was very favourable.

In President Donald Trump’s speech Monday at the inaugural “Made in America” Week event, he mentioned immediately off the top of the speech that he was able to negotiate access to China for U.S. beef by just asking for it. The reality is the announcement on China lifting the ban on U.S. beef started during the Obama administration.

“… the gentleman who was in charge of Omaha Beef — they do beef — he hugged me, he wanted to kiss me so badly. (Laughter.) Because he said, our business is a whole different business now because you got China approved; the other administrations couldn’t even come close.  And I told him, you know how long it took? One sentence. I said, President Xi, we’d love to sell beef back in China again. He said, you can do that. That was the end of that. Right? (Applause.) Sonny.  The great Sonny Perdue. (Applause.)  So we’re very happy.” — transcript of President Trump’s speech, July 17, 2017

In a major over-simplification by the President — which was more of a political shot at former Presidents Obama and Bush to open up China — you could also argue that NCBA was thrown under the bus.

For many U.S. farmers and ranchers, they don’t care what the President did or how he did it. Talk is cheap, results matter, and the U.S. has beef access into China that it has been desiring for over a decade. In fact, the U.S. now has more favourable access to China than Canada, so the pressure is now on the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association and the Trudeau government to at the very least get the same access as the United States.

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